Tappan Zee Bridge Tour

Several years ago, I saw a show on the History Channel focusing on America’s deteriorating infrastructure that featured the Tappan Zee Bridge prominently. The program highlighted the fifty year old span as the poster child for deteriorating infrastructure that was likely to collapse without warning — and soon.

Tappan Zee Bridge boat tour

That may have been overly dramatic, but the people I knew who used the bridge back then had formulated a plan to get out of their car if the bridge collapsed and dropped them in the river. I recall my sister talking about the order in which she would unbuckle her children. When New York announced we were finally getting a new bridge, everyone was grateful.

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Red Hill Fire Tower Hike

A couple years ago I took my kids camping into the Sundown Wild Forest in the Catskills. It was a fun couple of days but I went into it with a to-do list so long, we couldn’t possibly get to everything.

Red Hill fire tower sign

Recently I read that the state had added a day-use permit requirement (for summer weekends at least) to the egregiously abused Peekamoose Blue Hole, a popular swimming spot in the area, located on Rondout Creek. It reminded me of some of the hikes that we hadn’t gotten to, especially the Red Hill Fire Tower.

The Red Hill Tower was the last one in the Catskills to operate in its original role.

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Hiking Bear Mountain NY

Bear Mountain State Park is another cool place with lots of history, including some of New York’s early ski history. But it also attracts so many people every summer weekend that the heavy traffic can make it difficult to get around northern Rockland County, much less take advantage of the hiking, paddling and swimming opportunities the park offers.

bear mountain trail building exhibit

It can be disheartening. It’s not just because the crowds and traffic make access difficult, but also the impact all those people have in terms of litter, erosion, noise pollution. The crowds at Harriman and Bear redefine the term “intensive use.” On a normal summer weekend, I definitely avoid Bear Mountain.

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